Yann Sommer was heroic in defeat as ten-man Switzerland were beaten by Spain on penalties after the two sides played a 1-1 draw at the end of extra-time.

The first half was a largely drab affair, with chances coming few and far between. In fact, apart from the moment when Spain took the lead courtesy of an own goal by Denis Zakaria, neither goalkeeper was put under any sort of pressure. Switzerland upped the tempo post the interval and got their deserved goal midway through the second half, with Xherdan Shaqiri scoring from close range.

However, Switzerland’s job of completing a comeback got a lot more difficult ten minutes later, as Remo Freuler was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Gerard Moreno. Vladimir Petkovic’s men, though, held on till the end of regulation time, which ended with the score tied at 1-1. It was more of the same in extra-time as Switzerland dug deep to force a penalty shootout.

Speaking of the shootout, it was the two goalkeepers who made their mark in the crunch moments. And with Switzerland managing to convert just one of their four efforts from the spot, Spain reached the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-finals, thanks to penalties by Dani Olmo, Gerard Moreno and Mikel Oyarzabal. A ten-man Switzerland, though, are eliminated despite a valiant effort by Yann Sommer in goal.

Spain

Unai Simon: 8/10

Unlike Yann Sommer in the Switzerland goal, Simon did not have to work nearly as hard, although like his opposite number, he could not have done anything to deny the goal that he conceded. Made one fine save to deny Steven Zuber, though. In the shootout, the Spain goalkeeper kept out the efforts by Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji to earn his side a place in the semi-finals.

Embed from Getty Images

Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10

A decent effort by Azpilicueta, who was troubled by Steven Zuber at times but largely did well to remain scot-free at the back. Did not have too many moments to remember in the final third, although he did link up well with Gerard Moreno while also directing a couple of efforts goalwards.

Aymeric Laporte: 5/10

Deployed on the right of the central defensive partnership, Laporte had more work to do with the ball at his feet than off it. Having said that, he ought to have done so much better than whatever he was up to when Xherdan Shaqiri scored the equaliser for Switzerland.

Pau Torres: 5/10

Like his partner at the heart of Spain’s defence, Pau Torres, drafted into the side in place of Eric Garcia, left a lot to be desired when Switzerland made it 1-1 through Shaqiri. Had a game-high 151 touches while completing 95 percent of his attempted passes.

Jordi Alba: 7/10

Superb effort by Alba, who was relentless in his performance in the opposition half. Played four key passes while it was his shot that deflected off of Denis Zakaria to hand Spain the lead. Ought to have celebrated a hat-trick of assists as well, if not for the profligacy of his teammates.

Koke: 6/10

There was a lot of purpose and desire in his performance, but Koke was found wanting for the end product in the final third once again. Having said that, he did deliver four key passes, although that tally was boosted by the fact that he was on set-piece duties.

Sergio Busquets: 6/10

Busquets was as Busquets usually is in the middle of the park – industrious and efficient. As is the case more often than not with the veteran midfielder, he was largely solid off the ball, winning 7 duels. In addition, he also typically retained a passing rate comfortably over 90 percent. Did all he could to set the platform for a Spain win. Missed his spot-kick during the shootout.

Pedri: 7/10

After blowing Croatia away at times, Pedri was sub-par here as he did not quite carry the same creative threat as he did last time out, at least not in regulation times. However, he did grow into the game heading into extra time, when he pulled the strings wonderfully while taking advantage of the numerical count.

Ferran Torres: 5/10

Ferran Torres earned a start in a second successive game for Spain on merit, but this was a largely forgettable performance apart from a few moments when he got the better of Ricardo Rodriguez. In particular, it was his wastefulness on the ball that was frustrating, as he lost possession 17 times. Has to do better.

Alvaro Morata: 5/10

After showing some signs that he was getting back to his best, Morata once again flattered to deceive versus Switzerland. The Spain striker did impress with his ball retention (all but two passes completed), although he needed to fare better inside the Switzerland box.

Pablo Sarabia: 5/10

After the high of the last two games came the low of the one against Switzerland, with Sarabia just unable to make any sort of impact during his stay on the pitch, which lasted just one half this time around. Completed just 61 percent of his passes while losing possession 14 times.

SUBSTITUTES

Dani Olmo: 6/10

On for Sarabia, Olmo was an upgrade on Sarabia, although there were moments when he seemed to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of bodies inside the Switzerland box. Converted his spot-kick during the shootout.

Gerard Moreno: 6/10

Hardly an upgrade over Morata, as Gerard Moreno struggled to produce the goods in the final third despite mustering as many as six efforts on goal. Could have scored at least once on another day. Nevertheless, he was a picture of composure during the shootout as he converted his penalty.

Marcos Llorente: 6/10

Llorente did well to force an issue in extra-time, playing as many as three key passes despite only spending half an hour on the pitch. Completed each of his attempted passes as well, although his output in front of goal was rather sub-par.

Mikel Oyarzabal: 6/10

Unlike Llorente, Oyarzabal did not create many openings, although he did complete each of his attempted passes as well. Converted from the spot under pressure during the shootout.

Thiago Alcantara: N/A

A late introduction, Thiago did not get many opportunities to help Spain win the game before the end of extra time.

Rodri: N/A

Brought on solely keeping the penalty shootout in mind, Rodri failed to convert his effort during the shootout.

Switzerland

Yann Sommer: 9/10

A colossal performance in goal by Sommer, who made a raft of saves – 10 in all – to ensure Spain never beat him more than once. On that one occasion, he could not have done anything to keep out Jordi Alba’s deflected shot. Beaten by Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal and Gerard Moreno, but saved the effort from Rodri. Did all that he could to get a result for his side.

Silvan Widmer: 6.5/10

A blow-hot-blow-cold display by Widmer, who did not really get overwhelmed by Pablo Sarabia but was troubled to some extent by Dani Olmo. Having said that, he made some important defensive contributions as well, although, on the opposite end of the pitch, he did not make a great deal of impact.

Nico Elvedi: 8/10

Top-notch work by Elvedi, who worked hard to ensure Spain never really put Sommer under too much pressure despite their dominance in possession. The minutes that have been piling up did show their effect at times and particularly with a cheap giveaway late on, but Elvedi more than held his nerve.

Manuel Akanji: 6.5/10

A solid performance by Akanji, who, along with Elvedi did extremely well to negate the influence of Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno. Won 9 duels while making 5 clearances and 4 tackles. Could not hold his nerve during the shootout and had his penalty saved by Unai Simon.

Ricardo Rodriguez: 7/10

A difficult evening against the energetic Ferran Torres. Rodriguez, though, also held his own at the back at times and he also made a big block to deny Marcos Llorente from close range. Completed a game-high nine tackles as well. Job well done.

Denis Zakaria: 6/10

Drafted into the starting lineup in place of the suspended Granit Xhaka, Zakaria, who was one of the players in focus in our preview, was quite solid in the middle of the park. But, he was also extremely unfortunate, as Jordi Alba’s shot deflected off of him to hand Spain the lead.

Remo Freuler: 6/10

A game of hits and misses for Freuler, who worked hard off the ball to keep a lid on Pedri’s output in the middle of the park. More importantly, he showed an opportunistic side to his game when he advanced into the Spain box to set up the equaliser for Xherdan Shaqiri. However, shortly after that moment, he was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Gerard Moreno.

Breel Embolo: 6/10

An agonising game for Embolo, who had to be taken off with an injury midway through the first half. Barely saw the ball before his substitution.

Xherdan Shaqiri: 8/10

Ever so often, Xherdan Shaqiri is the man to raise his hand and produce the goods for Switzerland. It was more of the same against Spain for the Swiss skipper, who was typically purposeful in his display before popping in the right place at the right time to net the equaliser. Taken off for Djibril Sow following Freuler’s dismissal.

Steven Zuber: 6/10

Yet again, Zuber was one of the better performers for Switzerland, carrying the kind of threat that very few other of his teammates did. Forced Unai Simon into his first save in the game before Shaqiri scored the equaliser. Worked hard off the ball as well, completing a couple of tackles.

Haris Seferovic: 5/10

A frustrating evening for Seferovic, who was left isolated for much of the 82 minutes he spent on the pitch. Indeed, the Switzerland striker managed just 16 touches all game long, having been kept at bay by Spain’s two centre-backs.

SUBSTITUTES

Ruben Vargas: 5/10

A bundle of energy after coming on for Breel Embolo, Vargas put in the hard yards in the face of Spain’s dominance in the game and even played a key pass. However, he was also wasteful with the ball at his feet at times, losing possession 14 times. Failed to hold his nerve during the shootout as well.

Djibril Sow: 6.5/10

On for Shaqiri, Sow worked hard off the ball to ensure Switzerland forced a penalty shootout. Did misplace a fair few passes, but his performance was more about the defensive output, which was solid.

Mario Gavranovic: 6/10

On for Seferovic, Gavranovic barely had any moment to remember in the final third, with his side behind the ball for much of his stay on the pitch. Did put in the hard yards and converted from the spot during the shootout.

Christian Fassnacht: 6/10

On for Zuber, Fassnacht did not see much of the ball in the final half an hour or so. When he did he lost possession quite cheaply, although that was largely due to Switzerland’s numerical disadvantage.

Kevin Mbabu: 6/10

On for Widmer, Mbabu barely got a chance to express himself. Defended smartly enough, though.

Fabian Schar: 6/10

On for Zakaria, Schar defended diligently to help force a penalty shootout. Stepped up to take the second spot-kick for Switzerland, but a tame effort was saved easily by Unai Simon.

Leave A Comment...

*